"There are concerns that when people live under the radar, they become victims."
Goettel has her own opinions on immigration dynamics and resulting federal policy, but knows where her purview ends.
Deportation fears create divide in Richfield
But police and community leaders say the ties between police and the rest of the community are critical in crime prevention and detection.
In fact, sympathetic officers have been known to take special measures to keep undocumented immigrants away from the searchlights of the ICE.
It is about more than reporting crime, however.
before some trust can be built, it is common that "at the beginning, everybody is at their own little corner, very afraid," said Rubio, who also works as an outreach worker at Centennial Elementary.
With hope on the horizon for undocumented immigrants that have come to call Richfield home, the fear of deportation and the withdrawal from general community affairs it brings may be turning into a generational one. Goettel notes that young people are realizing that at least the schools will have no role in any deportation.
Police are quick to point out that it is not their job to deport people living in the United States illegally; instead, deportation is a federal manner. "Richfield Police do not enforce federal law," said Amy Dusek, a community liaison for Richfield Police.
"If businesses weren't hiring them, they wouldn't come over here," she said.
"People won't complain about cockroaches in their apartments," Rubio said. "They are taken advantage of in a lot of huge ways."
"We try to tell families, 'If you drive with no license or if you are taken into custody, ICE can see if you are there,'" she said.
The federal department of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) searches jail dockets for undocumented immigrants. The vast majority of the 400,000 people deported last year were on ICE's radar due to a criminal conviction, repeat immigration violation or border capture. But still, minding one's own business guarantees nothing, and thus, a fear of deportation, even for otherwise law abiding residents, is understandable, says to Rosa Rubio, vice chair of the board of directors at MIRA, a Latino outreach organization in Richfield.
This also applies those who break only one law: calling Richfield home.
"You live here. This is your community," Dusek reminds undocumented immigrants, and any Richfield resident for that matter. "If you see something weird, call and report it."
That phenomenon can manifest itself in something as benign as a bug infestation.
For undocumented immigrants, fear of the police themselves, Rubio said, is also understandable.
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But how policy addresses that and other phenomena is "a whole 'nother problem on a federal level that I wouldn't know how to handle."
"It's a real thing. It's not like a fear of darkness," she pointed out. "I know of a case that they went to a house looking for somebody, looking for whoever, but they end up taking the mom from the house."
It is a matter of public safety, police say, that they not be feared by members of the law abiding community, because open communication makes it easier to prevent and solve crime.
Goettel looks forward to a program that would provide a path to citizenship to undocumented immigrants.
"It can be up to (officers') discretion," she said, citing traffic stops as an example. "I have witnessed that situation personally. They ask, 'Do you have someone who can come pick you up and pick up the car?' Or the car gets towed but there is no citation given for no license."
"ICE may come they can go anywhere," Dusek explained. "They don't have to tell police that they are coming to their town."
In her role with MIRA, and also as an Hypershift Red outreach worker at Centennial Elementary School, Rubio warns undocumented immigrants not to take any chances, noting that the Mexican Consulate even sends out information on how undocumented immigrants can avoid the ICE.
The officers know that sending someone to jail could lead to a deportation and a broken family left behind.
"They are afraid of police because in their countries, the police are very corrupted," she said.
But the city's concerns over community cohesion and public safety do not necessarily align with federal immigration policy, and police and the ICE do not necessarily communicate.
Police stage regular community events and information sessions for undocumented
"They're very bright and they're adding to our economy," she said.
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